OLD TOWN — For Maria Cann, hearing that a street would be named after her son Bobby, killed in a May bicycling accident, was some of the first good news she had heard in months.
"Wow" and "fantastic" were some of the first words she said when reached by phone in New Hampshire Thursday morning. "Awesome."
"I think it's wonderful, and also that they are building bike lanes. Something positive can come from all this tragedy," Maria Cann said.
The honorary street renaming was introduced by Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) during Wednesday's City Council meeting. The stretch of roadway near the northwest corner of Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee street would be designated "Honorary Bobby Cann Way."
The Cann family — Bobby's mother, two brothers and younger sister along with aunts, uncles and nieces — hope the sign will be up during one of their upcoming visits to Chicago.
Cann family members have been flying in from the East Coast for each court date in the trial against the man charged with striking and killing Bobby while driving drunk.
"We just have this contingent that's been coming out," Maria Cann said.
Even if the court date is a status hearing that could last five minutes at 26th and California "still we get on our plane and fly out to Chicago for it," she said.
Burnett said the massive amount of support shown by the bike community was a big factor in his decision to introduce the ordinance to name the street, but he also hopes the sign serves as a reminder to both cyclists and drivers.
"Hopefully it will make motorists recognize that they need to be careful and acknowledge bikes when they are driving their cars," Burnett said. "But, also that bikers acknowledge the fact that they always have to watch their back when they are out on the street."
Burnett was recently named chairman of the city council's Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.
The Canns were last in Chicago in August and plan on being in the city again next week for a court hearing.
The sign won't likely be up by then, but Maria Cann knows she will be back countless times over the course of the trial.
"[We are going] for Bobby, for justice, for hopefully getting what we can to prevent other families from having to experience this," she said.
Her son was struck while riding home from his job at Groupon in late May. A 26-year-old experienced cyclist, his death brought an outpouring of support from the cycling community.
The driver in the case, Ryne San Hamel, was charged with reckless homicide and driving under the influence after the early evening crash.